Chargers head into great unknown - LA? - after 4-12 season
SAN DIEGO (AP) The ugly 4-12 season is mercifully over for the San Diego Chargers.
Defensive captain and locker room mainstay Eric Weddle is on his way out the door after an ugly split with the front office.
The team itself might be gone, too.
After dealing with uncertainty the last 11 months, the Chargers could soon find out whether they'll still call San Diego home, or if they'll move to the Los Angeles area.
The Chargers were a mess on and off the field in 2015.
They missed the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons, had their worst record since 2003, and failed to win a game against AFC West rivals for the first time since 1984, when Alex Spanos bought the team.
The Chargers chose to retain coach Mike McCoy, who is 23-27 in three seasons, including a playoff win and loss in 2013, his rookie season. They also move on with quarterback Philip Rivers, who is under contract through 2019.
Other than that, there's a great unknown ahead.
Rivers said he agreed with the decision to keep McCoy, who is unpopular with many fans due to conservative game plans and clock-management issues.
''We know, and Mike knows, everybody in this building knows, it wasn't good enough this year, any of us. I wasn't good enough, Mike, none of us were,'' Rivers said. ''I don't think starting over with wholesale change was going to be the answer. You see teams that have done that around this league and they never win.''
The Chargers fired most of the offensive staff, including coordinator Frank Reich, and need to once again rework a line that couldn't stay healthy.
On Monday night, team chairman Dean Spanos filed for relocation to Carson, an industrial suburb of Los Angeles. NFL owners are expected to decide next week whether the Chargers, Oakland Raiders or St. Louis Rams, or a combination, will be allowed to move to the L.A. area.
Here are some things to know about the Chargers, who will pick third overall in the draft:
L.A. STORY: Spanos wants to move to Carson and partner with the Raiders in order to make more money and protect what he says is 25 percent of his fan base, perhaps at the expense of the other 75 percent. The team has been at odds with City Hall since 2000, when Alex Spanos said the Chargers needed a new stadium. That was just three years after the stadium was expanded to accommodate the Chargers and Super Bowls.
Dean Spanos wants public contribution of at least 60 percent for a new stadium in San Diego. The city and county are offering 32 percent. The team walked away from negotiations in mid-June.
The Chargers are 244-267 (.477) with only 12 winning seasons since Alex Spanos bought them.
WEDDLE MESS: One of the longest-tenured Chargers, Weddle has felt disrespected that the team didn't offer him a contract extension. The relationship flamed out when the Chargers fined Weddle $10,000 for staying on the sideline at halftime of the Dec. 20 home finale to watch his daughter perform in a show sponsored by the team's cheerleaders. Weddle was placed on injured reserve a week later, against his wishes, and told he couldn't travel to Denver for the finale.
Weddle said he never would have imagined his departure would come to this.
''I guess I'll never know why since I probably won't speak to them again,'' Weddle said. ''I'm excited for the future.''
Would he get an honest answer from the Chargers?
''No,'' he said.
MELVIN GORDON: After rushing for 29 touchdowns with Wisconsin in 2014 and being drafted in the first round, Gordon failed to find the end zone or have a 100-yard game with the Chargers. He was benched twice for fumbling. His season ended two games early due to a knee injury that will require surgery.
The Chargers say Gordon has a bright future. Part of the problem was poor line play in front of him.
Even so, the defense played much better in the season's second half. The Chargers like the development of rookie linebacker Denzel Perryman, as well as the excellent coverage by cornerback Jason Verrett - when he's healthy. Linebacker Manti Te'o played better and stayed healthy, and outside linebackers Jerry Attaochu and Melvin Ingram give promise to a unit that still desperately needs a top-flight nose tackle.
GATESY: Star tight end Antonio Gates' contract is expiring, but he'd like to return, in part because he doesn't want to end his career on such a lousy note. Gates was suspended the first four games after testing positive for PEDs. Gates had 56 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns.
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